Easing Dental Phobia in Adults
If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9% and 15% of Americans state they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear.
People with dental anxiety have a sense of uneasiness about the upcoming dental appointment. They may also have exaggerated worries or fears.
Dental phobia is a more serious condition that leaves people panic-stricken and terrified. People with dental phobia have an awareness that the fear is totally irrational but are unable to do much to change this. They exhibit classic avoidance behavior; that is, they will do everything possible to avoid going to the dentist. People with dental phobia usually go to the dentist only when forced to do so by extreme pain.
Other signs of dental phobia include:
Fortunately, there are ways to get people with dental anxiety and dental phobia to the dentist.
There are many reasons why some people have dental phobia and anxiety. Some of the common reasons include:
Absolutely! In fact, if your dentist doesn't take your fear seriously, find another dentist. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.
If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your own treatment can ease your tension. Ask your dentist to explain what's happening at every stage of the procedure. This way you can mentally prepare for what's to come. Another helpful strategy is to establish a signal - such as raising your hand - when you want the dentist to immediately stop. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth, or simply need to catch your breath.
Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 6:17:45 AM
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